Konami Digital Entertainment
September 7, 2011
Buy at CDJapan
ЁVOLUTIФN is the second album from the duo TËЯRA (TERRA), consisting of composer Naoki Maeda with composer and vocalist jun (Junko Karashima). The album features extensions of existing Bemani songs, and no new material outside of that. A second disc is also included in all editions of the album which contains a non-stop megamix of many songs from the album, as well as a few songs not included on the first disc of the album. Overall this album sees the duo focus their sound a bit more, and it should please fans of their work.
The album begins with “Hana Ranman -Flowers-”, a sequel of sorts of “Infinite Light” from their first album, with which is shares its genre name. This track is even more overtly oriental with its instrumentation and even its composition. It carries the same quick tempo and energy of their signature tracks, and some touch-ups to the arrangement here give it a deeper sound that makes it sound a bit more epic. Unfortunately I’m not a big fan of the repeating chorus melody, but otherwise it is an alright track. These sounds carry into other tracks like “Toukarenjou”, which is a moderately paced track. The influences here are more Chinese in origin, and it offers a pleasant reprieve from the faster tracks that surround it. The closing track and album namesake “ЁVOLUTIФN” also carries many oriental sounds with the more typical TËЯRA sound. It’s one of my favourite tracks on the album with a very strong chorus melody, along with a nice sense of drama in the track throughout.
One of the other distinct sounds of the album is that of a darker, more epic feeling. “Fantasia” is one of these tracks, featuring among its instruments a cold harpsichord, a furious piano, a backing choir, heavy strings, and ominous bells, all alongside the more typical dance rhythms and percussion. The sound is a perfect fit for the duo, and it doesn’t sound too out of place with their other offerings. “masquerade” is a bit similar in atmosphere but also a bit Latin in its brass, guitar, and percussion. “LETHEBOLG” is the other track with this big sound, and my favourite of the three. It’s more dynamic and dramatic with its buildups and reductions, and has stronger melodies than the other tracks, though all three are quite good.
The remainder of the album is a bit more typical of the sounds from their first album, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The duo does two new arrangements of tracks originally written for other vocalists. “Kyoka Suigetsurou” and “THIS NIGHT” get new arrangements that better match the TËЯRA moniker, though they are still in similar styles to the originals. jun’s vocals sound fine for them both, and thankfully she also writes new Japanese lyrics for the latter. “Parasite World” is one of my favourites from the album for its grittier sound and strong melodies, though I miss Maeda’s vocals, which where present in the original version. Maeda’s vocals are still present on the later track “RЁVOLUTIФN”, but I don’t quite the track as much, as it is a bit too repetitive for my tastes. “EDEN” and “-ZERO-“ are more great tracks in the Hyper J-Pop series, and I like the new guitar solo at the bridge of the latter added here. The new “DIORAMATIC MOMENT” has some new instrumental solos that are pretty good and flesh out the sound of the track, and make it much better than the original. Even if a lot of this is more generic in sound, it’s all still tightly arranged and polished, and stands among the stronger output from the duo.
The only ballad of the album is the new arrangement of “DoLL”, which has piano and strings backing. Although there is some interesting stuff happening in the arrangement (particularly in the strings in the second verse, which take a bit of a darker turn after a very safe opening), there isn’t quite enough emotion in the track. It all feels a bit flat dynamically, which is a shame as it might have worked well otherwise.
Lastly, the album comes with a second disc with a non-stop megamix of the tracks. Most are in their original game arrangements and lengths, with a few touches of remixing here and there. Since the original arrangements are still intact, it means that the transitions between tracks can be a bit jarring and abrupt, but at least the sound effects from the first album’s megamix are no longer present. It’s notable that “Parasite World” retains Maeda’s vocals with jun’s. As well, “CROSSROAD ~Right Story~”, “SUNKiSS DROP ~jun Side~”, and the two “Reminiscence” tracks in the megamix see their first album releases. Previously it was only the alternate versions of the tracks featuring English singers and lyrics that were released. These inclusions make the second disc a little less redundant, but outside of these it still doesn’t do much for the package.
ЁVOLUTIФN is another solid album from TËЯRA, even showing many improvements. The album feels more polished overall, and most of the tracks are memorable. There is a bit more diversity of sound on the album, but it all fits in together cohesively. The non-stop megamix is still largely unnecessary aside from the few tracks previously mentioned, but overall the album is still a good value, and is sure to please fans of the duo, as well as others with an open ear for J-Pop.
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Posted on September 19, 2015 by Christopher Huynh. Last modified on September 19, 2015.